Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
When last we left our heroes it looked like their mission was over before it began. Is there a solution to their dilemma? There better be, we still have half a book and most of the movie left to go.
Thus far the additions have been a mixed bag. Some I like, while others I think the movie did better, and yet others may be more to preference than anything else. I understand what Asimov was trying to do but like or hate a story some things were intended to go a certain way and without totally rewriting you may not get the spirit of what was intended. It’s also hard for me to hate on a movie that has had such a strong influence on science fiction especially if I rather enjoyed it. Let’s see what this chapter brings.
Chapter 10: Heart
I have to stop while reading to ask the late Mr. Asimov…why did you write Reed to be such a jerk! (And that’s not the word I used while reading this but I keep the swears minimal around here so everybody can enjoy.) In the movie, when they learned the ship was off course and the heart was the only passage available they calmly worked to figure out a solution, which was to temporarily stop Benes’ heart just long enough for the Proteus to go through. It showed thoughtfulness, intelligence, and good problem solving. But because Asimov seems set on having this medical vs. military aspect Reed doesn’t want to give up because he’s a stubborn ox while everyone else is immediately ready to give up without even trying. This is one of those moments the movie did way better as it makes everyone look good and working towards a common goal. I thought Asimov’s problem was the science of miniaturization, not whether the doctors and generals got along. M*A*S*H the TV series was still a few years off, right? Where in the movie they worked together to not scuttle the mission, here Reid is forcing them to stay and it makes him look bad compared to the original movie. Points to the movie.
Fortunately the rest of the chapter is much better. Asimov does a good job describing what the others see, the process to temporarily stop the heart, and what the crew sees within the stopped heart. And of course Grant seems to have the hots for Peterson because she’s the girl. This story doesn’t need the romantic subplot trope. I’m starting to think, outside of giving more backstory, Asimov does the best with the science but the movie did better with the characters. Not that the writing is bad, but I like the movie versions better than the book versions. Again, it’s the “medical versus military” angle and potential romance we really don’t need.
Where will all this go? We’ll find out next week, where I believe Chapter By Chapter will be back on Mondays as we delve further into Benes and the story.
Next Time: Capillary